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Erasing David – SXSW 2010

As technology evolves and continues to help us to handle life in a more convenient manner, making every-day tasks like carrying maps in a car seem silly when we have a GPS system, or carry around cash when we have a debit card, lots of 0s and 1s in our name are being stored. “Erasing David” is a scary wake up call as to just how the days of privacy may be long gone.

Forget potential employers searching for compromising college pictures on Facebook. This is about all the data that’s collected about us on a daily basis, unintentionally by us, but information that can be used to recommend products (think Minority Report) or against us in very scary ways.

To find out the depth of this data collection co-director David Bond puts the camera on himself. Co-directed by Melinda McDougall, the film takes us through Bond’s trials and tribulations in an almost Borne Identity fashion, albeit not as crafty or limber, seeing if he can actually escape surveillance where he lives in London.

What I didn’t realize was how many cameras exist in that city, let alone in the United Kingdom itself. Data delivered in “Erasing David” is an eye-opener: the U.K. is on of the top three surveillance states in the world…next to China and Russia. Yikes.

George Orwell saw this coming.

To see just how much data is collected on him, and to see if he can escape the Big Brother eyes, Bond hires a top private detective agency, Cerberus Investigations Limited, to track his every move, every credit card charge, train ticket, even impersonating him. Ya see, his wife is pregnant during this 30-day escapade. Not the best time to go into hiding.

Getting out of the city was task one. But what doesn’t make sense is that Bond still uses his cell phone, which of course acts as a homing device. J. Bond would have never done that.

That aside, Bond lifts the veil on data collection incompetency, which can result in horrible consequences for the innocent. Technology is far from perfect. For Christ’s sake, iPhone users can’t even make a friggin’ phone call most days (I can say that first hand). So what happens when one person’s data overlaps into someone else’s identity? Oh, let’s see…having a record as a felon?  Yes, that could really throw off the job search.

The film is highly intriguing and well worth anyone’s time to understand the flip side to the blanket statement of, “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.” Yeah, right.

“Erasing David” screens again at SXSW on Tuesday, March 16 and is also available on iTunes and Amazon on demand.


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